Monday, April 19, 2010
Davis call-up right on time for Mets
By Adam Rubin
First-base prospect Ike Davis was preparing to put on his Buffalo Bisons game uniform for a Triple-A matinee when manager Ken Oberkfell summoned him at 12:10 p.m.
"I thought I was going to be batting four for Buffalo," Davis said. "Then I got even better news."
Davis was redirected to Citi Field, where he made his major league debut Monday night, batting sixth for the New York Mets against the Chicago Cubs. If Davis takes off, incumbent Daniel Murphy may never return to first base as an everyday player with the club.
Davis went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his debut. He singled to right field in his first at-bat, off right-hander Randy Wells. In his final at-bat, after bailing at a pair of breaking pitches from left-hander Sean Marshall, Davis recovered to produce a run-scoring single up the middle. The latter hit came during a five-run seventh that lifted the Mets to a 6-1 victory.
Davis' inability to make a backhand scoop of a one-hop throw from shortstop Alex Cora did prolong the sixth inning, setting up Chicago's lone run. He nonetheless became the ninth Met with two or more hits in his major league debut. The last: Nick Evans at Colorado in 2008.
"It's been a long day and it's been a dream come true," Davis said. "Now I just have to work hard and try to make it last longer."
Davis, a slick fielder and the 23-year-old son of former major league reliever Ron Davis, hit .364 with two homers and four RBIs in 33 at-bats with Buffalo.
The combination of the Mets' paltry first-base production from the platoon of Mike Jacobs and Fernando Tatis -- a combined .188 with one homer and five RBIs -- and the continued absence of Murphy prompted team officials to promote the 2008 first-round pick from Arizona State.
Jacobs was designated for assignment Sunday, while Tatis will move to a bench role. The lefty-throwing, lefty-hitting Davis won't platoon with the righty-hitting Tatis.
"You're not going to bring up a young kid like that and put him in a platoon," Mets GM Omar Minaya said.
Said manager Jerry Manuel: "We've struggled over at first base a little bit for productivity, and you have a guy that the baseball people feel could be of help to you -- and you're in a little bit of a slump offensively -- you kind of roll the dice with this particular situation. I don't see him necessarily as the savior. I just see him as a good complement to what we have."
Murphy had been poised to be the Opening Day first baseman, even though he was viewed as a placeholder for Davis. Now, after Murphy recovers from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, which could take several more weeks, he could find himself in the minors. That would allow Murphy to get proficient at multiple positions, including second base and the outfield, for an eventual return in a utility role. Murphy is doing "limited baseball activity," including "slightly running," Minaya said.
Of course, Davis -- who hit a combined 20 homers with Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton last season -- must take off for Murphy's latest reinvention to occur.
Davis' arrival comes with the most fanfare arguably since Jose Reyes and David Wright's promotions in 2003 and '04, respectively -- with the possible exception of outfielder Fernando Martinez's short-lived stint last season.
Yet despite being a focal point, Davis appears well equipped to handle the New York spotlight. Although his father Ron's playing career was over before Davis turned 2 years old, Davis did regularly attend old-timers' games at Yankee Stadium with his father. He even had the opportunity to take batting practice off Goose Gossage.
"It gets back to understanding the history of the kid," Minaya said. "New York is not a stranger to him. His father played in New York. He has an understanding of New York. He's not an 18-year-old kid. He's a 23-year-old kid from a major college. We feel very comfortable that this kid is the kind of kid that is going to be able to handle an environment like New York."
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.